Poor sleep quality is associated with worse self-rated health in long sleep duration but not short sleep duration

Anna Andreasson, John Axelsson, Jos A. Bosch, Leonie J. T. Balter*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    27 Downloads (Pure)


    Unhealthy sleep duration, either short or long, is associated with worse health and central subjective dimensions of sleep and health such as fatigue. It has been argued that the link between sleep duration and health may depend on the quality of the slept hours, and on its functional impact (ie, fatigue). The present study therefore assessed whether the relationship between last night's sleep duration and general self-rated health (SRH) differs as a function of sleep quality, and secondly, whether current fatigue and sleep quality are factors linking sleep duration and SRH.

    The present cross-sectional dataset involved 1304 individuals (57% female, M age = 28.8, range 18-79). Participants completed surveys for general SRH, previous night's sleep duration and sleep quality, and current fatigue.

    Results showed the expected inverted U-shaped (ie, quadratic) relation between last night's sleep duration and SRH and a linear relation between last night's sleep quality and SRH. However, long sleep duration was only associated with poorer SRH in individuals who also reported poor sleep quality. Further, the quadratic relationship between sleep duration and SRH was partially mediated by fatigue and sleep quality.

    The results of this multi-study analysis suggest that SRH is particularly poor in those who slept both long and with poor quality the night before, while good sleep quality may protect those with a long sleep duration from poor SRH. Thus, last night's long sleep does not seem to be associated with poor subjective health unless it is coupled with poor sleep quality. Furthermore, fatigue and sleep quality are potential pathways linking short and long sleep duration with SRH. Different dimensions of sleep interact in their association with health, and future research will benefit from an integrative approach.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)262-266
    Number of pages5
    JournalSleep Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • self-rated health
    • sleep duration
    • sleep quality
    • fatigue


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